Shamat Guide

About Shamat

Shamat is a graphic tool for creating hex-based dungeon and outdoor maps.

Shamat is built entirely in Javascript and HTML5, and runs in your browser. You can download the package to run locally on your computer within the browser, or access the online version. Both offer the same functionality, you just don't need an active web connection for the downloaded version.

Shamat User Guide

Basic Concepts

Shamat uses a hexagonal grid, on which you will draw map elements. These elements may be drawn in various colours, and many of them can be rotated and flip to produce additional visual effects. The main purpose of this tool is for creating dungeon maps and terrain maps. Dungeon maps represent underground structures and overland buildings with walls, floors, corridors, doors, stairs and such. Terrain maps cover a much larger scale and depict the various kinds of landscapes found at that scale, such as forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, roads, and so forth. All design elements can be used for any map, but some you may find more useful for one kind than the other.

Layers

Before we get into how to use Shamat, it is useful to quickly cover the concept of layers as they apply to this program. Layers are the different planes on which you can draw, and can be thought of a stack of clear sheets that your drawings go onto. The layer that an element is drawn on determines whether it appears above or below another element in that hex. The layers in Shamat are:

  • Base: This is the bottommost layer. This is useful for elements that will have nothing further drawn below them, such as floors, bodies of water, and base colours for terrains.
  • Overlay: This layer sits above the Base layer and is designed for building block elements. Walls, paths, and other elements which occupy just part of a hex work well here, since the Base layer will show through the unuses parts of the hex.
    Elements drawn on this layer will use a darker version of the selected colour. This was intended so that you could use the same material (like stone or wood) for both the floor on Base and the walls on Overlay, and they would stand out from each other.
  • Symbology: This layer contains all of the symbology elements - Features, Terrains, and Annotations. These sit on top of the literal map elements and tell the viewer more about what the hex contains.
  • Megahexes: This layer contains only the megahex overlay grid, and is superimposed over the entire map when turned on.

One nice thing about the Layers is that the Eraser tool only works on the currently selected layer. So you can remove walls on the Overlay layer without destroying the floors laid on the Base layer. Since Features, Terrains, and Annotations all sit on the Symbology layer, the Eraser tool will erase all three from the same hex.

A final word about the draw order. While elements are drawn in order based on their layer, you can also have multiple elements within a hex on the same layer. These will draw in the order they were added, with the most recent one on top. So for example if you are on the Symbology layer and have a Town in a hex which you want to add a Forest to, if the Forest is added second it will draw on top of the Town. If you want the Town on top, erase both elements from the hex, add the Forest, then add the Town.

Project Settings

This section contains these basic information and settings on your map project.

  • Map Name: This is the name of your map. It will be used as the filename when saving the map file, and when exporting map image.
  • Rows and Columns: These set how large your map area is. Rows are the number of hexes going from left to right, and columns the number of hexes going from top to bottom. You can enter new numbers and then click the Update button to change the size of the map.
  • Zoom: This slider controls how large the hexes appear in the editor window. Drag the slider to change the zoom level until you get a size that is comfortable for you to work in. The zoom ranges from 4 to 64. It defaults to 16.
  • Outline: This slider controls how dark the hex grid outline is. It ranges from 0 (pure black) to 255 (pure white). It defaults to 127 (50% grey).

Tools

These are core tools that control how you add elements to the map.

  • Paint: When you click the mouse on the highlighted hex, it is filled with the active Material and Component on the current Layer. You may also hold the mouse button down and drag it to paint over multiple hexes.
  • Rectangle: Click the start hex and then move the end hex and click again to define the bounds of the rectangle. The outline of the rectandle will be painted in the Material and Component on the current Layer.
  • Area: Works like the Rectangle tool, except the whole area is filled with the current brush settings.
  • Line: Paints from the start point (first mouse click) to the end point (second click). Constrained to strictly horizontal, vertical, and hex diagonal lines.
  • Skip Line: Paints every other hex along a horizontal line from start to end. Useful for alternating components to make straight edges.
  • Undo: Undoes the last painting action performed. There is currently only one level of undo.
  • Clear Map: Reset the map to a blank state. You will be prompted to confirm this action.
  • Zoom In: Makes the map scale larger, increasing the size of the hexes.
  • Zoom Out: Makes the map scale smaller, decreasing the size of the hexes.
  • Save Map: Saves the map as a Shamat map file.
  • Load Map: Load a previously saved Shamat map file.
  • Save Image: Save a PNG image of the map. The size of the image is selected in a pop-up dialog with a size slider.
  • Random Map: Generate a random terrain map. You can specify which types of terrains and features will be included.
  • Rnd Rooms: Generate a random room map. The rooms will be created using the currently active material. The random generator will try to connect all the rooms by hallways, but you may have to add some further halls manually to connect everything together.
  • Rnd Tunnels: Generate a random tunnel map. The tunnels will be created using the currently active material. Some tunnels may need to be manually connected if you want the entire map to be one solid complex.

Components

These are the "paint brushes" for building your map. Multiple components can exist in the same hex, though painting with Whole will obliterate any partial hex components on that Layer.

  • Eraser: Remove all components in the selected hex on the active Layer. Material selection is irrelevant.
  • Whole: Paint the entire hex on the active Layer with the selected Material.
  • Flat Half: Paint with the flat-sided half-hex component on the active Layer with the selected Material.
  • Point Half: Paint with the point-sided half-hex component on the active Layer with the selected Material.
  • Apex: Paint with the apex component on the active Layer with the selected Material.
  • Bulk: Paint with the bulk component on the active Layer with the selected Material.
  • Channel: Paint with the channel component on the active Layer with the selected Material.
  • Junction: Paint with the junction component on the active Layer with the selected Material. Rotate and stack these in a hex to create branching intersections with channels.
  • Slice: Paint with the triangular wedge slice component on the active Layer with the selected Material.
  • Corner: Paint with the corner component on the active Layer with the selected Material.
  • Wide: Paint with the wide component on the active Layer with the selected Material.
  • Join: Paint with the join component on the active Layer with the selected Material. Rotate and stack these in a hex to create branching intersections with wides.
  • Finish: Paint with the finish component on the active Layer with the selected Material.

These tools let you manipulate the currently selected Component.

  • Rotate Left: Rotate the current selected component one step counter-clockwise. There are six total rotation positions for each hex style.
  • Rotate Right: Rotate the current selected component one step clockwise.
  • Flip: Flip the current selected component to the opposite side of the hex (equivalent to three rotations).

Features

These are various symbols that can be added to the map. They will be drawn in the selected Material colour.

  • Eraser: Remove all features and terrains in the selected hex. Material selection is irrelevant.
  • Door: A solid rectangle along one hex side representing a door.
  • Stairs: A series of rectangles traversing the hex representing a staircase.
  • Stair: A half-series of rectangles, used in creating staircase junctions that turn within the hex.
  • Unders: A series of dots representing where a passage runs below a higher passage on the map, in maps that portray layered levels. Also useful as secondary roads/trails in terrain maps.
  • Under: A half-series of dots, used in creating underneath passage junctions that turn within the hex.
  • Bands: A straight solid band to create paths, walls, or other linear features. Also useful as main roads in terrain maps.
  • Band: A solid junction to connect bands. Rotate and stack these in a hex to create branching intersections with bands.
  • Shaft: An outlined circle representing a shaft leading between levels of the map.
  • Spiral: An abstract symbol than can represent a spiral staircase or other feature.
  • Axons: A solid axial band to create walls and other linear features. Functions well as a mid-hex door symbol or demarcator.
  • Axon: A solid axial junction. Rotate and stack these in a hex to create complex boundaries.
  • Half Door: An alternate door shape. Draw matching ones between two adjacent hexes to create an overlapping door effect.
  • Window: A window graphic to be placed along walls.
  • Mid Door: A door symbol that spans the middle of the hex instead of an edge.
  • Mid Window: A window symbol that spans the middle of the hex instead of an edge.
  • Marker: An map marker, keyed to a corresponding symbol in the adventure guide.

These tools let you manipulate the currently selected Feature.

  • Rotate Left: Rotate the current selected feature one step counter-clockwise. There are six total rotation positions for each hex style.
  • Rotate Right: Rotate the current selected feature one step clockwise.
  • Flip: Flip the current selected feature to the opposite side of the hex (equivalent to three rotations).

Terrains

These are terrain symbols that can be used to create overland maps. They will be drawn in the selected Material colour.

  • Eraser: Remove all terrains and features in the selected hex. Material selection is irrelevant.
  • Water: A series of wavy lines that indicates a body of water.
  • Mtn Line: Outlined ovals indicating mountains or hilly terrain.
  • Mtn Fill: Filled ovals indicating mountains or hilly terrain.
  • Forest: A cluster of filled shapes that indicates forest, jungle or other dense plant growths.
  • Swamp: Groups of lines suggesting grasses, to indicate swamp, savannah or prairie.
  • Plains: A series of simple hatched lines that indicate plains or other terrains.
  • Desert: A scattering of dots that indicates desert or other terrains.
  • Capitol: A star that indicates a capitol city.
  • City: A square that indicates a city or other large settlement.
  • Village: A disc that indicates a village or other small settlement.
  • Fort: A simplified building shape that indicates a fort, outpost, or other defended encampment of some kind.
  • Mine: A simplified shovel shape than indicates a mine or other resource extraction point.
  • Ruin: A triangle that indicates ruins or other abandoned structures.
  • Interest: A star outline that marks the location of a unique point of interest.

Annotations

These are character glyphs that can be added to the map to denote points of interest. They will be drawn in the selected Material colour. Press the matching key to quickly select a letter, number, or symbol.

Megahexes

These tools let you toggle and position a megahex overlay on top of your map. It is always drawn in pure black.

  • Show: Display the megahex overlay.
  • Hide: Remove the megahex overlay.
  • Shift Up: Nudge the megahex overlay 1 hex up.
  • Shift Down: Nudge the megahex overlay 1 hex down.
  • Shift Left: Nudge the megahex overlay 1 hex left.
  • Shift Right: Nudge the megahex overlay 1 hex right.
  • Square: Draws a "square megahex" grid, which alternates standard megahexes with square megahexes, making gridded layouts easier.